Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Announces Inaugural Season and September 2019 Opening of LMCC’s Arts Center At Governors Island

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Today Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) announces that LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will open to the public on September 19 with inaugural season programming that includes commissioned site-specific exhibitions by internationally renowned artists Yto Barrada (with special guest artist Bettina) and Michael Wang, as well as the Take Care series, a fall public program that furthers ideas presented in the Arts Center’s inaugural art installations and reframes art curation as a mindful practice stemming from the concept of care. Artists and collectives featured in the season include Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun Sunlight Graffiti, Tattfoo Tan, Anne Mourier, Jérôme Bel, Jesse Paris Smith and Pathway to Paris, House of Trees and The Floor, plus both Barrada and Wang. Signature Open Studios events will offer behind-the-scenes looks at the artistic process with the Center’s inaugural Artists-in-Residence. See this page for details, with full schedule available at LMCC.net. All programs and exhibitions are free and all are welcome.

Lili Chopra, LMCC’s Executive Director of Artistic Programs, commented, “We are thrilled to open LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island, sharing the work of artists whose local and global sensibilities speak to our present moment. Yto Barrada and Michael Wang examine the complex power dynamics of the natural world. Their divergent approaches share an intense sensitivity that embraces the root meaning of curation—to care, to look after, to support. Through these exhibitions and the Take Care series, along with the work being developed by the inaugural family of artists-in-residence, we invite the public into the Arts Center at Governors Island to reflect on the world we inhabit. How can we better care for ourselves, those around us and the planet as a whole?”

LMCC’s Executive Director of Finance & Administration, Diego S. Segalini, remarked, “For over 45 years, LMCC has championed artists and their visions in transforming urban spaces. LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is a gift to all New Yorkers in a time of intense economic inequity and ecological crisis. The Arts Center will be a space of conversation and thought. It reflects the mission and values of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to serve and connect artists and communities on a human and personal scale, completely aligned with Governors Island’s commitment to the City, water and environment.”

Conceived as an incubator for creative exploration and a gathering space to engage in dialogue, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is the first year-round, permanent home for artists and audiences on Governors Island. Located within the Governors Island Historic District, LMCC’s Arts Center features 40,000 square feet of space dedicated to public performances, exhibitions and artist residencies, visual and performing arts studios and a cafe. Work created and exhibited during the inaugural season investigates issues of ecology, sustainability, geography and history related to Governors Island and New York City at large. Artists will be in residence year-round with public programming to take place during Governors Island’s public season, which runs May 1 through October 31.

As a welcoming hub for working artists and community engagement, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will host a broad range of events—including Open Studios, performances, exhibitions, talks, discussions and workshops—to convene artists and the public in an ongoing exchange of ideas and creative practice. Beginning September 19, the exhibitions are open to the public Thursdays through Sundays, 12–5 p.m. The Take Care series takes place every Saturday, 2–5 p.m.

Since 1973, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) has served tens of thousands of artists and arts groups in New York City with critical financial support, training, networking and long-term studio residency programs. As a champion of independent artists and a vital cultural force in city arts, LMCC connects audiences with public presentations of artists’ work (including its flagship River To River Festival), creating innumerable cultural experiences and programs across Manhattan, free of charge and welcome to all.

Stay safe in the heat this weekend on GI

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With an excessive heat advisory in effect this weekend, we encourage you to take precautions to stay cool and hydrated when visiting Governors Island.

Make sure to bring plenty of water with you and to refill your bottles regularly. You can find our water stations throughout the Island—locate them on our visitor map.

Stay cool in the shade! There are plenty of shaded areas to relax in on Colonels Row and in Nolan Park. You can also find large sun umbrellas in Liggett Terrace as well as a water feature that can keep kids cool while they enjoy a splash.

If you’re not feeling well, need to cool down or in case of emergency, head to our first aid station at Soissons Landing. You can also contact Island security at 212-809-3299.

Please note that due to the heat, program hours and events may be changed or canceled.

The following programs have confirmed their closures this weekend:

Colonels Row
Syracuse University
4heads
Rare Air
Nolan Park
NY Virtual Volcano Observatory
House of Solutions
Imagination of Space
Triangle Arts
Harvestworks
West Harlem Art Fund
play:groundNYC + Student Conservation Association (closed Saturday)
Children’s Museum of the Arts
Swale
Billion Oyster Project (closed Saturday)
Urban Farm
Earth Matter
GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden

Additionally, Pioneer Works’ Machine Learning salon at 3pm on Saturday is cancelled. Their opening reception for Betsy Kenyon’s LightHouse, 5-9PM, and their stargazing session, 7-9 PM, will go on as scheduled.

NYC Audubon and Works on Water will close early this weekend.

Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights and Perros Y Vainas in Liggett Terrace will be closed on Saturday.

Visit Governors Island this Fourth of July Weekend

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Governors Island is the place to celebrate this Fourth of July! Bring a picnic, go for a scenic bike ride, wave to the Statue of Liberty from the top of Outlook Hill or just take a peaceful nap in a hammock. Swing by Threes Brewing at Liggett Terrace all afternoon for a special July 4th BBQ with Popina! Learn more about the Island and its history with the U.S. Army and Coast Guard at Castle Williams, half of Governors Island National Monument, on a tour led by a National Park Service Ranger.

We’ll be open until 6:00 PM on July 4, running increased ferry service from Manhattan to Soissons Landing. Due to planned harbor closures for the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks display, Governors Island will close at 6:00 PM on 7/4 and will not be open for fireworks viewing. See the full schedule here and note the important July 4 ferry times below. Happy Fourth!

July 4, 2019 – Manhattan ferry times
First ferry to Governors Island: 10:00 AM
Last ferry to Governors Island: 4:20 PM
Last ferry off of Governors Island – all visitors must be aboard: 6:00 PM

July 5 is the second First Friday of the season, when houses in Nolan Park and Colonels Row open in the evening so visitors can peruse their programs and check out special evening events. These programs will be open 6-8pm for July’s First Friday:

Nolan Park
American Indian Community House
NY Virtual Volcano Observatory
Works on Water
Pioneer Works
Harvestworks
West Harlem Art Fund
NYC Audubon
Climate Museum

Colonels Row
Syracuse University MFA Summer Residency
4heads’ Artists in Residency Program
Rising Sun Performance Company
STEM Kids NYC

Please note, Brooklyn ferries will not run on July 4 or 5.

​Help care for the urban forest on Governors Island: Support our June Member Drive

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Do you love hanging out in Hammock Grove, watching the clouds go by? Imagine visiting the Island thirty years from now–Hammock Grove will be a forest! Where you once gazed up at the clouds, you’ll instead be shaded by a canopy of leaves, enclosed in a forest on an Island in the heart of New York City...

Back to the present: The Governors Island gardening team is working hard to care for the 1,400 young trees in Hammock Grove that will grow into a diverse urban forest uniquely designed to thrive in changing climate conditions. But we need your help. To ensure the health and beauty of Hammock Grove all season long we need 115 members to join by June 24. Join today!

Members help fund critical care of Governors Island’s 120 acres of open space–Hammock Grove included–ensuring the Island will remain a beautiful place to visit for generations. Every member makes an impact. For example:

  • $50 membership supports the purchase of native wildflower seeds so we can build a healthy ecosystem to support the young trees as they grow
  • $100 membership will help us clear and maintain gardener access paths so our team can monitor and tend to the young trees
  • $250 membership will help the Friends grow our gardening team so we can keep the Island’s landscapes vibrant all year

Join our community as a member today.

Welcome aboard the newest ferry in New York Harbor: Governors 1

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Our new passenger ferry, the Governors 1, is ready to set sail! Governors 1 will serve 400 passengers per trip between Lower Manhattan and Governors Island, increasing our capacity to transport an additional 1,000 passengers per hour. The new vessel will officially go into service on weekends beginning this Saturday, June 15 and will make trips between the Battery Maritime Building and Soissons Landing, increasing service to approximately every 20 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays during the public season. The ferry will also serve both current and future tenants of the Island including students at the New York Harbor School, residents and staff of the soon to open Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island, along with seasonal cultural programming organizations and vendors.

Governors 1 was built by Blount Boats, Inc., a family-owned shipyard led by Marcia Blount, based in Warren, Rhode Island and celebrating their 70th anniversary this year. 132 feet long and 40 feet wide, the single passenger deck vessel is powered by two 800 horsepower engines and will travel at speeds up to 14 knots, shortening dock to dock travel time between Lower Manhattan and Governors Island to about five minutes. It was built using 450,000 pounds of steel, making it roughly the same weight as the Statue of Liberty!

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This month, students in the vessel operations class at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, located on Governors Island, and their instructors joined our ferry crew aboard Governors 1 to shadow training exercises. The students, all in their sophomore year, have been engaging directly with maritime operators throughout the semester as part of their hands-on curriculum. To help illustrate how a vessel like Governors 1 gets ready for public service, Governors Island staff and the crew took the students through all aspects of daily operations, including start-up procedures in the engine room, man-overboard drills in the passenger cabin and even public service announcements from the pilot house.

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Thank you to the Harbor School students, instructors and Principal Jeff Chetirko for helping to prep for Governors 1’s maiden voyage across New York Harbor. To learn more about the New York Harbor School, visit newyorkharborschool.org. See the new ferry schedule here. Welcome aboard!

Governors Island Opens 2019 Public Art Commission with Shantell Martin

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June 3, 2019 - The Trust for Governors Island today announced the opening of its next project as part of its annual public art commission program. Open June 1, the Trust presents Church, and immersive, contemplative work by Shantell Martin, who enlivens the façade of Our Lady Star of the Sea, a former military chapel, deconsecrated for over 20 years and located in the Island’s Historic District. The season-long exhibition will be on view daily through October 31. Expanded, site-specific programming related to Martin’s work will open in Fall, 2019.

“We are thrilled to be working with Shantell Martin for our 2019 commission, whose performative drawings will be in direct conversation with the movement of the Island and its community of visitors,” said Meredith Johnson, Vice President of Art and Culture at the Trust for Governors Island. “This immersive work will act as a dynamic and unifying marker in the Island’s landscape, fostering discussion, meditative exploration and cross-disciplinary collaboration.”

Bringing new life to Our Lady Star of the Sea, Martin uses her signature black and white drawings to create a living, visible beacon in the Island’s Historic District. Inspired by her personal experiences and research on the vibrant history of the Island, Church invites visitors to circumnavigate the former chapel’s architecture through image and narrative, engaging with the dynamism of the landscapes that surround it. In this way, the work serves to highlight and help reimagine a building that has long been empty and closed to the public. Reflecting upon the building’s history, Martin’s large-scale drawing pays tribute to the disused former military structure and honors its legacy as a place of great significance on the Island during its half-century of active use.

Built in 1942, Our Lady Star of the Sea originally opened as a Catholic chapel during the Second World War and the expansion of the former U.S. Army base. Serving as a central hub of religious activity on the Island along with nearby St. Cornelius Chapel, Our Lady Star of the Sea remained in use until 1996 when the U.S. Coast Guard ceased operations on Governors Island. Deconsecrated for over 20 years, the former chapel is one of the few non-landmarked buildings located within the Governors Island Historic District. Martin’s project brings new life and visibility to the former chapel for the first time in years.

Expanding and evolving throughout Governors Island’s public season, in Fall, 2019 the Trust will host weekend programming that is free and open to the public, including poetry readings and events. Additional programming will launch in September, including a partnership with the Poetry Society of America, who will curate three free readings inspired by Martin’s work.

Below the surface of Shantell Martin’s signature black and white drawings is an artist’s inquiry into the role of artist and viewer, where a work of art is more than an object of admiration disconnected from its inception. With a meditative process defined by an uninhibited flow, her compositions embody her internal state and the impermanence of the world around her. Exploring themes such as intersectionality, identity and play, Martin is a cultural facilitator, forging new connections between fine art, education, design, philosophy and technology. London born and New York-based, Martin’s body of work includes solo shows at the New York City Ballet, the 92nd Street Y Gallery, the Albright Knox Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA). She currently teaches as an adjunct professor at NYU’s ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) – where she works with her students to push the boundaries of storytelling, visual art and technology – and is a former MIT Media Lab Scholar.

This year’s commission is co-curated by Meredith Johnson, the Trust’s VP of Arts and Culture and Shane Brennan, the Trust’s Director of Public Programs. Since opening to the public in 2005, The Trust has worked with dozens of artists and arts and cultural organizations from across New York City to bring a robust calendar of commissions, exhibitions and events to the Island’s diverse audience. The Trust’s commissioning program gives artists the opportunity to engage with audiences through site-specific projects responding to the Island’s unique conditions.

Previous commissions on Governors Island include Rachel Whiteread’s Cabin, a permanent work sited on Discovery Hill within the Island’s park space, and Day is Done, a large-scale instrumental sound installation by Susan Philipsz. In 2011-2012 Storm King Art Center sponsored an exhibition of 12 monumental works by Mark di Suvero throughout the Island. Governors Island’s commissioning program was relaunched as an annual series in 2017 with Rock, Mosquito and Hummingbird, a winding sculptural installation by David Brooks telling the story of the Island’s ‘pre-history’ through continuous rock core samples assembled in historic Fort Jay. In 2018, Jacob Hashimoto’s 15,000 delicate bamboo and paper kites filled Trinity Church and Never Comes Tomorrow, a colorful, whimsical outdoor installation, hung overhead in the landmark Liggett Hall Archway. The latter work is being extended through October 31 of this year.

Generous support for Shantell Martin on Governors Island is provided by Charina Endowment Fund and The O’Grady Foundation. Additional support is provided by Pullman.

Follow Shantell Martin on Instagram and Twitter at @shantell_martin.

Governors Island and Film at Lincoln Center Announce Free Summer Screenings for 2019

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UPDATED July 12, 2019 – The Trust for Governors Island and Film at Lincoln Center announced today its lineup of free outdoor movie screenings for the 2019 season. For its second year, Film at Lincoln Center will curate three outdoor screenings throughout the season, inspired by the city we all call home. This year’s outdoor film series will take place on the Island’s historic Parade Ground, an eight-acre lawn with expansive open views of Lower Manhattan. The series will be produced by Rooftop Films.

The films featured in this year’s edition of “Escape in New York” celebrate all the ways in which our city, like cinema itself, provides visitors, new arrivals, and lifelong residents alike with infinite avenues of escape: from the humdrum routines of a straitlaced existence, from the frustrations and indignities of childhood, and from the pain of one’s own past. This season’s series will kick off with a screening of School of Rock on Friday, June 14. Other films to be showcased include Martin Scorsese’s dark comedy classic After Hours and Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, each paired with an independent short film by a local filmmaker selected by Film at Lincoln Center’s programming team.

“In 2018, our inaugural film series presented in partnership with Film at Lincoln Center was a huge success, giving new audiences the opportunity to spend evenings on Governors Island, experiencing in iconic NYC films with the iconic skyline of Lower Manhattan as a backdrop,” said Meredith Johnson, VP of Arts and Culture at the Trust for Governors Island. “We are thrilled to dive into year two of this landmark series, solidifying the Island and the center of New York Harbor as the best place in the city to watch a movie under the stars.”

“As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2019, we are offering a variety of exciting summertime Film at Lincoln Center events, and we're delighted that our continuing series of outdoor screenings at Governors Island can be part of these celebrations,” said Lesli Klainberg, Executive Director of Film at Lincoln Center. “These free events recall the origins of our organization, when we produced Films in the Parks, outdoor screenings around the city in the 1970s. We’re thrilled to again work with the Governors Island team, and we expect to build upon the excitement we created last year with this new slate of films.”

Screenings will be free and open to the public with pre-show entertainment including a DJ kicking off at 6pm and the films beginning at dusk. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at each screening, including a beer garden by Threes Brewing, food by Makina Café, Gary’s Steaks, People’s Pops, Melt Bakery and more.

During outdoor screenings, evening ferry service will run from Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan, located at 10 South Street, departing Lower Manhattan at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30pm. Ferries will return to Lower Manhattan from Soissons Landing at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00pm.

Full Schedule

June 14: School of Rock (Richard Linklater, 2003, 108m), preceded by Mr. Yellow Sweatshirt (Pacho Velez & Yoni Brook, 2017, 8m)

Please note, the screening of After Hours has been rescheduled from 7/12 to 7/19.
July 19:
After Hours (Martin Scorsese, 1985, 98m), preceded by Ada (Eleanore Pienta, 2018, 11m)

August 9: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004, 108m), preceded by To the Unknown (Michael Almereyda, 2018, 6m)

For more information on the lineup, visit govisland.org and filmlinc.org.

Start summer early this Memorial Day weekend on Governors Island!

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This weekend, get your first taste of summer in the harbor. Memorial Day weekend kicks off our peak season with longer hours, special programs and more ways to enjoy your favorite Island escape.

Stay out late on Governors Island when our late-night hours begin this Friday, May 24. Every Friday and Saturday night through August 31, we’re open until 10 PM. Come out to enjoy the sunset over The Hills, grab dinner in Liggett Terrace and enjoy a nightcap with stunning skyline views at Soissons Landing, or just take a scenic stroll in the cool evening air. See which vendors stay open for late hours on our Food page and keep an eye on our Things To Do page for exciting special events happening at night.

We’re making it even easier to get to the Island this weekend with additional Brooklyn ferry service. Saturday through Monday, ferries will run between our Yankee Pier and Brooklyn’s Pier 6 every half hour until the evening. NYC Ferry’s shuttle service between Pier 11/Wall St. and Yankee Pier also begins this Saturday, running weekends to get you to our shore from all over the city’s waterways.

Indulge yourself at special guest food trucks open all weekend on Colonels Row. Grab a classic cheesesteak at Gary’s Steaks, tuck into Wings Lovers’ chicken wings or chow down on Korean BBQ tacos at Kimchi Taco. Hungry Island-goers will be satisfied to hear that our vendors will be serving up their specialties on Monday, including Island Oyster and Taco Vista at Soissons Landing, all of the phenomenal offerings at Liggett Terrace and Three Peaks Lodge at Collective Retreats. Sea Biscuit, a new outpost of Little Eva’s on the western promenade south of Castle Williams, opens for the season this weekend to serve up frozen drinks and small plates in a scenic waterfront setting.

Governors Island is the perfect Memorial Day destination for families with kids. Besides Slide Hill and the Liggett Terrace play areas, play:ground NYC’s The Yard and Art Force 5 will both be open every day this weekend. Kids can also jump into a fun, free program imagining and building sustainable energy machines with Koko NYC on Sunday and Monday. The whole family can play together at Adventures at GI’s mini golf course, adventure maze, challenge wall and zipline.

If you’d rather take it easy (or just need a break from having so much fun), you can always relax in our gorgeous new parkland. Walk up into the Hills to take in a panoramic view of New York Harbor, bring a picnic and spread out on our rolling lawns, or kick back in an Adirondack chair or in a secluded spot in Hammock Grove.

Memorial Day is also the perfect time to visit Castle Williams, a former Army fortification that's now part of Governors Island National Monument. You can show yourself around or join a National Park Service Ranger for guided tours at 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM every day.

Even though it isn’t quite summer yet, we think there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate the season. With so much to do on Governors Island this Memorial Day weekend, you might have to come back twice!

OPEN MONDAY 5/27 (Memorial Day):

Food and beverage vendors
Island Oyster (plus late nights Friday and Saturday)
Taco Vista (plus late nights Friday and Saturday)
Little Eva’s (plus late night on Saturday)
Joe Coffee
Makina Café (plus late night on Saturday)
Perros Y Vainas (plus late night on Saturday)
People’s Pops
Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights (plus late night on Saturday)
Melt Bakery (plus late nights Friday and Saturday)
Sea Biscuit (plus late night on Saturday)
Three Peaks Lodge at Collective Retreats (plus late nights Friday and Saturday)
Gary’s Steaks (special guest on Colonels Row)
Wings Lovers (special guest on Colonels Row)
Kimchi Taco (special guest on Colonels Row)

Free programs
Art Force 5
play:groundNYC’s The Yard
KoKo NYC

Recreation
Adventures at GI
Blazing Saddles Bike Rental

Governors Island National Monument
Castle Williams

Mayor de Blasio Nominates Clare Newman as New Governors Island President and CEO

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May 22, 2019. Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the nomination of Clare Newman as President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. Newman is a lifelong New Yorker with extensive experience in strategic planning, real estate development and public private partnerships and a demonstrated passion for mission-focused projects. She comes to Governors Island with a strong vision for its future and a deep appreciation of the unique character that makes the Island so special.

Newman will be responsible for directing and managing all of Governors Island’s activities and operations, and supporting the development of Governors Island as a vibrant, year-round destination for recreation, innovation, and culture. Newman’s nomination will be voted on by the Trust for Governors Island Board of Directors on June 19, 2019.

“Governors Island is the jewel of New York Harbor – and Clare is the perfect person to unlock its potential. With her programming and planning experience, Clare will implement innovative projects to attract more New Yorkers to the island year-round while planning for its bright future,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“Governors Island is one of New York City’s great public resources—a vital destination for residents from across the city. As a life-long New Yorker, I’m deeply honored to have the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary place,” said Clare Newman. “I’m eager to foster development that will turn the Island into a 24/7 center of economic and cultural activity, and I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Been for this opportunity to build on all the work that has quickly brought the Island back into the city’s fabric.”

“We're excited to have Clare bring her expertise overseeing the largest expansion of the Brooklyn Navy Yard since WWII to Governor's Island," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "Clare has the vision, and track record, to bring new cultural experiences, improve access across incomes, and plan for the threats the island faces due to climate change, benefiting New Yorkers for years to come."

“Clare brings a longstanding track record, commitment and experience in delivering transformative, mission-driven projects across the City and is well suited to realize Governors Island’s full potential as an extraordinary place for all New Yorkers to visit, work, learn and enjoy year-round ” said Carl Weisbrod, Chair of the Board of the Trust for Governors Island. “I look forward to working closely with Clare, the Trust board and staff in building upon the successes of the Island’s transformation and expanding investment in the Island as a hub of culture, recreation, innovation and learning.”

"Clare Newman is a visionary, a placemaker, and a true New Yorker who will work tirelessly to maintain Governors Island's unique, funky character while crafting a plan for its strategic development," said Alicia Glen, former Deputy Mayor and incoming Chair of the Trust for Governors Island. "Clare will draw on her extensive experience in planning, development, programming and design to ensure that the Island is a crown jewel for all New Yorkers to enjoy."

"Clare Newman is well-known in New York City as a dedicated and highly capable public servant - among the best of the best," said Marc Ricks, Chair of the Friends of Governors Island. “We at the Friends are thrilled with her appointment and look forward to working closely with her and the rest of the Trust staff and board to ensure that Governors Island reaches its full potential as a year-round destination for all New Yorkers."

“As the Council Member representing Governors Island, I have worked closely with the Trust to make the island an indispensable resource for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Today, this space is a crown jewel in New York Harbor providing a valuable array of cultural and educational programming, outdoor events and recreation activities for the thousands of visitors the island welcomes every year. I congratulate President Clare Newman who—as the former Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation—brings precisely the type of experience needed to steer Governors Island towards further success.”

About Clare Newman

Clare Newman serves as Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC). As Chief of Staff, Newman oversees the Planning, Development, External Affairs, Transportation and Design & Construction departments and works on strategic initiatives. Newman’s focus has been on implementing projects that, together, will bring 10,000 jobs to the Yard by 2020, and on planning for future development. Newman previously worked at Bloomberg Philanthropies where she was a senior leader on the Government Innovation team. In that role she led the Mayors Challenge, an international competition to inspire and incentivize cities to generate innovative ideas to solve major urban challenges. Prior to joining Bloomberg Philanthropies, Newman was a Vice President at New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Real Estate division. There she worked with government, not-for-profit, and private sector partners to lead development projects and other City initiatives. In her over five years at NYCEDC, Clare executed projects throughout the five boroughs, including the restoration of the Loews Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn, the City’s bike share program, and the Applied Sciences tech-campus initiative.

Newman received a Masters of Urban Planning from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University and a B.A. with honors in Political Economy from Williams College. She is a member of the board of TransitCenter and a member of New York Women Executives in Real Estate.

Sam Van Aken’s The Open Orchard comes to life to restore biodiversity

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Climate change impacts ecosystems in ways that might not be visible if you don’t know what to look for. Species and habitats can disappear without making a sound.

Sam Van Aken, a sculptor and multidisciplinary artist who is the Graduate Program Coordinator for the School of Art at Syracuse University, wants to reintroduce us to what we don’t know we’ve lost. Climate change and industrialized agriculture have reduced the biodiversity of plant life in the United States to a shocking degree. While a century ago the U.S. boasted over 3,000 distinct varieties of peach tree, there are now under 100. In his new project, The Open Orchard, Van Aken seeks to restore and preserve some of New York’s lost biodiversity and all its delicious benefits. The Open Orchard will plant 50 hybridized trees on Governors Island, each one bearing multiple varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and apples once native to the area but that have since disappeared. His vision for the project combines artistic expression and environmental stewardship into a sprawling public artwork that’s also a shared resource for generations to come.

The ancient art of tree grafting, which Van Aken uses to create his hybrid trees, involves stitching multiple fruit tree varieties together into a single tree that bears different fruit on each of its grafted branches. The results are not only beautiful and delicious (trees bursting with rainbows of flowers and yielding entire fruit salads) but an ingenious way to preserve vanishing fruit varieties. Van Aken is already growing 200 of these trees in a nursery on Governors Island. When The Open Orchard is planted over the next few years, 50 of them will remain on the Island to create the artwork, which doubles as a fully functioning orchard, and 150 will be distributed to community gardens across the city to spread the benefits of the project and further safeguard the included varieties.

We launched a Kickstarter campaign to help us bring The Open Orchard to life, and we hit our funding goal! We've introduced a stretch goal to donate 100 more trees to NYC community gardens. Learn more and help us plant the seeds of this remarkable, vital project here. Thank you to everyone who has backed the project so far!

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